tv Tonight From Washington CSPAN April 4, 2011 8:00pm-11:00pm EDT
, and this next slide where the title says obama care hurts workers, increased costs, majority of employers anticipate health care reform will increase health costs. most say they plan to pass the increases on to their employers. 88% plan to do that. or reduce health benefits and programs 74%. this idea of setting up these exchanges throughout the 50 states and territories and that only six million people who have employer-provided health insurance can keep it, they won't need to be on the exchanges, mr. speaker, that is absolute poppycook. . it will be 130 million people
getting health care provided by their employer end up in exchanges. and that's why this cost that was estimated by the c.b.o. of $900 billion will be in the trillions, because when all of these people get out of employer-provided health care into these exchanges, think how many of them will be eligible for a federal subsidy to help them pay for that insurance, because the law says, so-called affordable care act, that anybody with an income of less than 400%, not 100%, not 200%, 400% of the federal poverty level, which is close to $90,000 for a family of four, i think of my four children and their families of two and three and four, and i know what their incomesr you know, the federal
government will be subsidizing so many people that the cost, the true costs will be astronomical and something that we cannot afford. and that's why our representative from new york and our other representative from georgia, spoke earlier about, we can't do this. we can't afford to do this. we need to repeal this law. it's a bad law. i have said before, mr. speaker. that in my humble opinion, it's the worst law that has ever been passed in this congress. there have been some folks on the other side of the aisle -- well, not on the other side of the aisle, but the more liberal media who took me to task for saying that, but i truly believe that. it's one of the worst laws that was ever passed.
and we have made every effort to repeal it. one of the first things we did in the 112th congress was pass h.r. 2 to repeal obamacare. we sent it over to the senate, and the senate, which is controlled by the democratic majority and led by the senator from nevada, harry reid, just simply, i guess put that in file 13 and h.r. 2 is sort of dead in the water over on the senate side. so what we're doing now, it is our obligation because what the american people have told us, over 60% of them here a year after passage of the bill, despite the fact that ms. pelosi said that once we pass it, and find out what's in it, they'll like it. no, they don't like it, don't like it one darn bit better. we made every effort at repeal. and now we're into plan b, mr.
speaker. plan b is to try and defund, especially the parts of the bill that are on automatic pilot that we have no control over. and i say we, i don't mean the new republican majority in the house of representatives, i mean every member of congress, 100 senators, 435 members of the house, both sides of the aisle, for goodness sakes, we ought to have control over the spending. let me just -- this is not a poster, i don't have a poster on this one, but tomorrow, in the energy and commerce committee, mr. speaker, the committee on which i am proud to serve along with several of our other house g.o.p. doctor members, we are going to have a markup on
several bills to change this automatic pilot spending on obamacare and put it into the more typical discretionary spending where members of congress can say, we want to spend that money a and if we want to spend that money and how much do we want to spend and we have oversight and make sure every year we look at the program and if it's not working, then defund it. and these bills, and i'll mention them real quickly, h.r. 1217, a bill to repeal the prevention and public health fund, $17.5 billion that the secretary of health and human services has control over, a fund of money that she can spend in any way she wants to. you think back to the ads that we saw andy griffith as the
pitch man on twation last year about the -- on television last year about the new law was going to strengthen and improve medicare. how you do that by cutting out of a program is beyond that. but that $17.5 billion in this prevention and public health fund can be spent indiscriminate naturally by a decision made by whoever the secretary of health and human services will be, h.r. 1214,, h.r. 1213, $-- we are going to get control over this, though and we are going to defund anywhere we feel that it is wasted due politic cative
spec -- did you politic cative spending that the american people can ill afford. i want to point out a few other things that are on these slides, mr. speaker. i mentioned the $575 billion cuts from the medicare program. i mentioned the 7.4 million people who will lose their coverage under medicare advantage because of that $126 billion pay-for. i didn't mention, though, on this slide, the third bullet point. many physicians may stop taking medicare patients because reimbursements will be below the cost of providing the care. now, is that representative phil gingrey from the 11th of georgia? is that a statement that i have made? well, maybe i have made it, but
i'm quoting the actuary of medicare, richard foster, who we had last week as a witness before the energy and commerce committee talking about some of these things. this bears repeating. many physicians may stop taking medicare patients because reimbursements will be below the cost of providing the care. richard foster, committee on medicare and medicaid services, chief actuary. today, doctors are reimbursed under the medicare program by a formula, a very difficult -- you talk about calculus, sustainable growth rate formula, how doctors are reimbursed for providing their service, whether their
brain power or surgical skills is beyond anybody's comprehension. and every year, for the last six or seven years, when you apply that formula to the next year's reimbursement level, there's a cut from the last year's reimbursement, 2%, 3%, 4%, to the point now, mr. speaker, what we have done here in the congress have mitigated those cuts and said we're not going to enact those cuts because these doctors will not be able to provide the care, just as mr. foster, the actuary said. and if we don't put a band-aid on these cuts and mitigate them, the doctors will drop out of the program and i don't care how much you expand access and hand out more insurance cards, if there are no doctors to see you,
you aren't going to have care, you do not have decent care or any care. so in this bill, in this new law, not only is that formula still there and the doctors facing a 31% cut in their reimbursement if we don't mitigate it once again come december 31 of this year, not only is that on their backs, but in obamacare, this is a new provision called i-pad, new bureaucracy, independent payment advisory board, that's going to actually cut the doctors even more. we aren't going to have -- the actuary is right. we aren't going to have doctors providing the care. and that's because we are taking money out of this program and putting it into an entirely new entitlement program, for the
most part, for young people. some entitlement when you force them to buy health insurance, in many instances, when they don't need it and don't want it. i see we have been joined by the co-chairman, along with myself, my classmate from the 108th congress, member from pennsylvania, my friend and colleague, dr. tim murphy, and i yield to dr. murphy. mr. murphy: i thank you for yielding, dr. gingrey. all of us in the doctors' caucus, there are people who have treated patients and we know full well the value of quality health care. and we also know what happens when bureaucracy gets between the patient and the doctor. and you find yourself spending as much time worried about paperwork and forms and what the
government is going to do and sometimes you are dealing with your patient. that's not good health care and that certainly isn't good health care reform. all of us who are health care professionals know that the treatment should not be more harmful than the illness itself. and what happens with the health care bill that was passed, when you look at some of the parts of this and realize what it does to the patient, to taxes, to employers, to hospitals, to community health centers, to the cost of drugs, you have to conclude that we did not fix the problem, we financed the problem and it is growing and growing. and that's not the right direction. let me give you a couple of examples. this bill, this act, actually creates about 1,900-plus new
duties and responsibilities for the secretary of health. has 100 or more more boards, panels and commissions to write our regulations that we don't know yet what they are. we also know that despite the words about the goal, the actual means to get there and what happens isn't what is purported to be doing. let's look at, for example, we keep hearing about 35 million americans will be covered. and yet, we also here from various consulting firms that it won't be 9 million americans that will lose their health insurance, but tens of millions of people who will lose their private insurance. so covering 35 million, but perhaps the same or double that losing their insurance doesn't get us to where we need to be. we also heard that health care costs were going to go down.
i had someone from h.h.s. in philadelphia come to my office and told me with a smile that it wasn't it great that health care costs were going up 2% or 3%. i asked this person if they bothered to talk to some employers in the state of pennsylvania because a lot of them told me their costs were going up to 40%. or talked to some of the families to find out that plans were not going to cover children any more because the way government decided to design those. our goal should be to treat and help and not to stop at just rhetoric and say, we have good intentions and therefore, we have good outcomes, but good intentions don't make good outcomes. where we could be spending money is on real reforms. one of the issues we have been united on is to help community health centers.
one community health center in pittsburgh that i visited with the -- treats about 700,000 individuals through more 2.3 million visits annually. there's 45 in 67 counties, their patient base is 68% medicaid, and uninsured and 60% of patients at or below the poverty level. what is interesting is how much lower in cost those clinics throughout pennsylvania and quite frankly throughout the nation can provide high quality health care. but what we've created is a couple of burdens. i find it interesting that as part of the health bill, one amendment congressman gene green of texas and i offered, was to allow physicians to
volunteer at community health centers. if we want to volunteer, we can't do it. in order to volunteer, they have to pay the medical malpractice costs instead of having them in the federal torts claim act, employees can to that, and that adds to their cost. but they're short 10% or 15% or 20% of what they need in providers. they are a tried and true method of bringing together people in a wide range, ob/gyn's family practitioners, psychiatrists, that's one thing we can be doing. mr. ging re: if you could wrap -- mr. gingrey: if you could wrap up, i want to thank you, dr. murphy, mr. speaker, thank you for the time, i yield back. i refer to our last post in conclusion, repeel and replace opaw macare. -- repeal and replace
obamacare. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from the virgin islands, mrs. christensen, is recognized for 6034i7bs as the dez ig -- is recognized as -- for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader. mrs. christensen: i want to talk about some of the things i've just listened to. what we passed last year is not obamacare. to the people of this country, it is your care. and if you allow it to be repealed, defunded or picked apart piece by piece, president obama will have his health care insurance and so will many of the people who are trying to take away your care. the patient protection and affordable care act was not supervise -- was not to provide care for us but to provide access to quality, affordable care for you. it's not obamacare, it's your
care. at this time, i'd like to yield to my colleague from maryland, congresswoman donna edwards. ms. edwards: i'd like to thank congresswoman kris ensen for the time and just a reminder that today, on today, april 4, is a sad remembrance in some ways of the a-- of the assassination of dr. martin luther king jr. in memphis, tennessee, 43 years ago. it's such an irony we're here this evening at this time because there's so many things for which dr. king fought and struggled that are ever-present today, both in our policy and our politics and in our national culture and through our social fabric. during this year also, we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the congressional black caucus.
it's important for us to remember that the congressional black caucus was founded to tackle the injustices that dr. king pointed to and to promote equity in the united states and with and through our united states political process. dr. king dedicated his life to the then-uncomfortable conversations on injustice faced by african-americans across the country. dr. king knew that tackling discrimination in the united states could not only focus on knocking down social barriers but also economic barriers that held african-american workers, held low-wage workers from economic wealth to sustain their families. i want to thank dr. christensen and so many of my other colleagues who join me in the introduction of house resolution 198, recognizing the coordinated struggle of workers during the 1968 memphis sanitation workers strike to voice their grievances and
reach a collective agreement for rights in the workplace. what an irony here in 2011 that the battles that dr. king, for which dr. king fought so valiantly are today's battles. house resolution 198 has among it today 55 co-sponsors. we recognize that we may not be able to move this measure to the floor but it's an important remembrance, commemoration of the struggle of those sanitation workers, those city workers, those municipal workers as they try to organize. as dr. king knew, organized labor is the cornerstone of our democracy and the organization of organized labor have altered from fay sets of our nation, changed our nation for the better. organized workers will forever change the labor debate through their collective will.
that's what happened in memphis on those days 43 years ago. just two weeks ago, we recognized the 100-year anniversary of the deadly triangle shirtwaist factory fire which ushered in and improved safety for workers. decades later, the deaths of two sanitation workers in memphis started the movement to give workers base right -- basic rights in the workplace. dr. king believed that movement for a safe workplace was akin to the civil rights movement. the motto for the sanitation workers strike was i am a man, signifying the way african-american men had been treated and referred to as boys. i am a man, what powerful words urging the city to grant them the full rights of equality and justice guaranteed around the
principles of our nation. dr. king stood in solidarity with the strikers and the basic human rights for all men and women in the workplace and in society. indeed, there are many of us in this congress who stand in solidarity with the strikers and workers across this country, municipal workers, private sector workers, public sector workers who are fighting every day for justice in their workplaces. indeed, 43 years ago is the struggle of today. thanks very much to the legacy of those strikers in memphis and to dr. king, we live in a nation where workers all over the united states can indeed demand justice and fair working conditions. these basic rights allow men and women to pursue economic wealth and pursue the american dream. but in recent days, we face a virtual assault on basic workers' rights, things we have
known for generations in this country and even though those events are unfolding, in the jut come of whether unions have the right to collective bargaining in that state will affect union workers across this country. indeed, that was the fight and struggle for justice of sanitation workers. i want to refer to dr. king's speech in memphis at a rally on behalf of sanitation workers. he said, quote, we've got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in memphis. we've got to see it through. we face the same challenge today, we have to push through in states like wisconsin, indiana, ohio and across this country to help public employees and indeed all employees fight against the injustices they face in their workplace. in dr. king's last speech, he highlighted the perils at which
he sought equality and justice for all men and women. in his words, and i quote, i may not get there with you, but i want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. for workers, what is the promised land? is it a promised land of a workplace that's safe, it's the promised land in which one makes wages that allows one to take care of one's family and contribute to the community. it is a workplace that actually respects workers as partners in the success of a company and a workplace. dr. king at this time, when he addressed workers in memphis, had already faced threats against his life, including a stab wound at a book signing in new york city. in his speech, dr. king recalled the doctors saying he had -- had he sneezed following the attack he would have died but noted he was glad that he did not or else he would have
missed the progress in the civil rights movement. today is a day of remembrance for so many of us. on the point of injustice, dr. king said so poignantly the issue is injustice. the issue is the refusal of memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants who happen to be sanitation workers. now we've got to keep attention on that and just as we reminded us 43 years ago, we have to keep the attention on our workers who struggle every day. dr. king was determined to be in memphis with those workers and let's think about where we are here 43 years from that fated day in april. our country is moving out of recession, we continue to stand with workers and stand with job
creation, some of us do, to reverse the effects of the recession on our most vulnerable communities and to empower all americans, empower workers. the unemployment rate among the african-american population remains far too high at 16.6% in march of this year. now, the overall unemployment rate has fallen. we're grateful for that, but i think we're -- dr. were dr. king alive today -- that were dr. king alive today, he would see the struggle. the unemployment rate among african-american men was 20.2% in march of this year, just last month. the unemployment rate among african-american women was 11.7% in march. put these numbers up against national numbers of
unemployment at 8.8%, and while those numbers again, thanks to the brilliant efforts of the president of the united states, of the democrats in congress during the 111th congress who actually brought us to a point where we put in policies that could bring down the unemployment rate, those numbers are still troubling among minority groups. but i will say, mr. speaker, that one of the challenges that we have is that in this country where workers struggle every day, we look at stagnant wages that have really crippled the american work force, the public sector work force, the private sector work force in this cupry, that we still have a lot to do when it comes to creating jobs. yet here we are again this week and i don't know what day we're on, 89 days not having created any jobs to arrest -- to
address those very concerns that dr. king had just 43 years ago. just a reminder to us all that according to dr. king, he said so profoundly about the american labor movement, and i quote again dr. king, and i wish that i could do it with his eloquence but i think it's important for us to be reminded of his words. the labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old age pensions, government relief for the destitute and above all new wage levels that meant not mere survival but a tolerable life. he continued, the captains of industry did not lead this transformation. they resisted it until they
were overcome. when in the 1930's, the wave of union organization crested over the nation, it carried into secure shores not only itself but the whole society. dr. king recognized so profoundly the connection between the struggle of workers, the struggle of the sanitation workers in memphis to the struggles of the american labor movement, and in fact to its foundation. with that, i recognize that my colleague from new york, paul tonko, has joined us on the floor and perhaps he'd care to join in this discussion. mr. tonko: thank you, representative edwards for bringing us together this evening on what i think is a very timely discussion. it seems as though 43-year-old history resonates profoundly today. the same battles for which martin luther king had fought, the eloquence with which he raise america's consciousness
is needed today, not only in the halls of government but across america to understand that there's an attack, i believe, on workers. there's a dim union igs of the -- a -- a diminishing of the working class, when we look at the fact that the top 10% of americans earn 50% of our national income, we look at stats from 1950 that had the executive salaries somewhere in a 30-1 ratio compared to the american worker. by the year 2000, that had changed drastically to some 3500 or 500-1. it's obvious -- to some 300 or 500-1. so there's obviously a gap between the heads of companies and the workers who make things
work that enables our economy -- and the workers have been threatened and been at risk. i think the whole moral fabric that martin luther king embraced, the entire mission to raise america's people as one by providing for the degreeny -- dignity of american workers was a tremendously strong statement in defense of all people. . people of every persuasion that could provide for a stronger america and it was that vision he had and shared it so eloquently and his climb to the mountaintop was bringing all of america's children along. it is the empowerment of society. as we weave the strands of diversity into the fabric of america, our mosaic, enables us
to be a nation that is truly unique if we could just empower the american power. i see the attack on the middle class in both the house and the senate, being so focused on a dismantling of the power of the working families, of the true middle class of our society, that is the wrong move. that is one that will devastate our economy and one that is not utilizing the intellectual capacity. cuts to our children, through head start or classroom experience is the worst of many because it is our future we are playing with. we aren't allowing for the dignity again which martin luther king spoke and that magic of learning is dulled by these painful cuts. so we have to got to respond and respond with compassion and eyes
wide open knowing that message of 43 years ago and that powerful statement made about the dignity of labor, the evening before he was bought down, still speaks to every one of us or at least ought to so we can speak to the distribution of income across this country in a way that empowers the individuals and families. that is the mission that is still there. some many of us were inspired by president kennedy, martin luther king, they want us to be involved and saw government as a noble mission. and that tarnished atmosphere that's prevailing today has allowed for misrepresentation of facts or denial of data that really should guide our process here, as martin often called for fairness, equitable treatment, for justice, those are the
factors that drive the dignity. so it is a challenge to us, but we are up for that challenge and i remain optimistic if we provide the boost to our nation's working families and middle class, we are empowered. so thank you, representative, for bringing us together on a very important discussion. fled fled i would like to yield to my colleague. mrs. christensen: i would like to thank both of you for helping to organize this hour and our colleague from new york for joining us. i was in medical school here in washington, d.c., on the day that dr. king was assassinated. and it was obviously a very dark day and weekend that followed, but i recall, and i think it would have been the sunday of the following week was a sunday dedicated to dr. martin luther
king, and on that day as you went to church or out and about d.c., there was fellow ship, brother hood and love for each other as neighbors. it would be wonderful to see the spirit of that day revived in this congress as we not only remember the day and words and legacy of dr. king and we remember what he was fighting for, specifically tonight, we remember the sanitation workers whose strike he went out to support on that evening. and in his speech he mentioned a few things in that speech the night before he was killed. he called also for his listeners to develop a dangerous unselfishness and said that the question before them, and i would say the question before us today is not -- quoting here, not that i helped to add the
sanitation workers and i would add, as we would say, the teachers, firefighters, policemen and workers whose rights are under attack today, but he said, the question is, if i do not help to stop the sanitation workers, what will happen to them. his concern went beyond that, what will happen to our nation. he said after that, let us right up tonight with a greater readiness and stand with a greater determination and move in these days of challenge to make america what it ought to be. we have an opportunity to make america a better nation. these words are an urgent call to us today as well as both of my colleagues have said, to stand with a greater determination on behalf of the working men and women, to stand with a greater determination for help for the poor, to stand with
a greater determination for clean air and clean energy for us and our children, clean air for our children for us to breathe and clean energy in response to the climate change, greater jobs and economic opportunity, especially for the most distressed parts of our country, stand for greater determination for quality education for every child and stand with greater determination for equal access to quality health care and wellness for everybody in this country regardless of ethnicity, and another quote that i use often as we talk about health disparities is this quote, he said, of all of the forms of injustice, it is in health care that it is most shocking and inhumane and i want to focus on that for a moment, because among the many challenges we face today is eliminating the
injustice in health care. we democrats took a major step forward in this effort with the patient protection and affordable health care act in the 111th congress and not only expands coverage to americans who never had insurance before but provisions that would end the travesty which dr. king called the most shocking and inhumane. and now that the health care bill is finally being opened to all, now that we have thwarted the efforts to end discrimination in our health care system and end the tens of thousands of premature of preventable deaths in people of color and our poor, now that we have done all of that, the republican majority is doing everything they can think of to slam that door shut again. the congressional black caucus is committed to building upon
the legacy of our founders. in the area of health, we are committed to building on congressman stokes and not let that door be closed to african americans or to anyone in this country. we will not let those doors be closed and we know our democrats will stand with us in greater determination to protect the affordable care law and the lives of countless americans who would continue to be in jeopardy without that law and it's time for the good people of this country to stand with us. let us not have to repent as dr. king said, not for the actions of bad people but for the appalling silence of good people. this country should no longer tolerate that african americans and latinos have a higher mortality and the diabetes and its complications should be higher in those same populations
as well as native hawaiians and pacific islanders or african americans have hire cancer death rates or native americans should have higher deaths from sudden infant death syndrome and chronic liver disease than all of the other population groups combined or asian americans should have higher incidence of tuberculosis 24 times the national height and higher rates of hepatitis b and no longer should this country tolerate that in 2010 after eight years after the department of human services have been reporting in the national health disparityies report that fewer states by african americans, should any evidence of narrowing, fewer than 20 percent showed any
evidence of narrowing. we need to rise as dr. king called us to do and close gaps in many different areas by large segments of our population. we must stand in determination to build that better nation and realize the beloved community that dr. king envisioned. in our 40th year, the congressional black caucus remains more determined than ever to realizing his dream, a dream that burns mr. bright:ly in the hearts of all of us. with that, i yield back to you, congresswoman edwards. ms. edwards: i just want to take this moment to yield to my colleague, vice chairman of the congressional black caucus from the great state, my original home state of north carolina, j.k. butterfield.
mr. butterfield: i thank the gentlelady for her leadership in the congress. the congressional black caucus goes out of its way each week to present to the nation issues that are critically important to african americans residing in this country and congresswoman edwards and congresswoman christensen have been in the fover front of making that happen. and i thank them for their leadership and i thank them for their willingness to come to the floor tonight to commom rate the life and the work of dr. king. april 4 brings back memories of that tragic day. it is the day i shall never ever forget. the civil rights movement and voting rights movement took place during my years in high school. those were very precious moments in my history and i remember so well the work of dr. martin
luther king junior. the world must remember, our country must remember, we must understand that martin luther king's leadership was profound but only lasted for about 13 years. so many people don't recognize that. dr. king started his leadership at age 26 and it tragically ended at age 39. it was on december 1 of 1955, that dr. king was drafted at age 26. he was drafted to lead the mon montgomery bus boycott. the black citizens of montgomery decided they would boycott city buses until they could sit anywhere they wanted instead of being relegated to the back. so a black woman, named rosa parks, was denied a seat because
of the color of her skin. dr. king, at the age of 26, took the leadership of that movement and focused the attention of the world on this injustice and the supreme court of this country, the following year, agreed with his position. and then several years later, in april of 1963, it was on a friday evening. it was good friday, dr. king led a march in birmingham, alabama, to end segregation in public accommodations. dr. king was arrested and spent the next 11 days confined in jail and during that time, mr. speaker, he wrote that great document called "letter from birmingham jail" and i only wish that our citizens would look up that letter on the internet and read that letter "letter from
the birmingham jail." and leaders announced that local accommodations would be integrated. so after that great victory in berming ham and after dr. king wrote his letter, dr. king and other civil rights leader planned and executed the 1963 march on washington. and so many of us have heard of and some of us participated in that march. it was a hot summer day here in the nation's capital on august 28, 1963. i was there as a young 16 -year-old high school student. that march was a demand. it was a demand for civil rights legislation. president john president kennedy agreed with the movement and made a speech calling on this nation to end segregation in public accommodation. on june 20, 1963, a bill was
introduced into this house of representatives here on capitol hill and that bill was fiercely debated to provide civil rights for all citizens. but then the march took place in august of 1963 and it was a great day, 250,000 people descended on the nation's capital, demanding civil rights. and less than 90 days later, president kennedy was tragically assassinated in dallas, texas. but as a result of his assassination, president johnson, becoming the president of our country, promised the nation that the civil rights bill that was pending in the congress would continue to be debated and it would be signed into law and it was on july 2, 1964. and so, after that civil rights bill was passed, dr. king received the coveted nobel peace prize and we honor and we celebrate that great history.
finally, mr. speaker, the civil rights act was not enough. there had to be a voting rights bill that was debated an passed by this congress and finally in 1965, congress passed the 1965 voting rights act because of the work of dr. king. because of the voting rights act. there has now been a transformation, a political transformation in the southern part of our country where i am from, i represent eastern north carolina, which is a community in my state that suffered from years of discrimination and electoral discrimination but i'm proud to say in my congressional district alone, there are more than 300 african-american elected officials, elected to office, and we attribute much of this success to the life and work of dr. martin luther king jr. i want to thank the gentlelady
for recognizing this great american on this day. my hometown of wilson, north carolina, was supposed to have been the visit of dr. king on this day in 1968 but because of the events in memphis, tennessee, he went to memphis to aid with the garbage strike and help those who could not help themselves. we celebrate this great legacy tinism thank the gentlelady and i yield back. ms. edwards: thank you, congressman butterfield, for your leadership as vice chair of the congressional black caucus but also for your reminder of our so important history that is linked both to the struggle of african-americans in this country to the struggle of labor and for a reminder also, historically, after oh the act that dr. king was supposed to have had a next place to be. when his life was ended on april 4, 43 years ago today.
thank you, congressman butterfield. i'd like to take just this moment, if i could, to recount for us the history of the 1968 american federation of state, county, and municipal employees sanitation workers strike, the chronology. beginning on sunday, january 31 of that year, rain sent workers home. then beginning tuesday, february 1, two sanitation workers, two sanitation workers were killed in an accident on a city truck. just days later, on monday, february 12, memphis sanitation and public employees went on strike after last-minute attempts to resolve their grievances had failed. while the newspapers claimed that 200 workers of the 1,300 remained on the job, really
only 38 of 180 trucks moved. the mayor of the city said the strike is illegal, but that his office stood ready to talk to anyone about legitimate questions of the time. little did these workers know that the through the month of february, as black leaders and ministers gathered from city-wide organizations in support of the strike, through the days of march when the ministers in the city announced that reverend dr. martin luther king jr. would come to memphis, as 116 strikers and supporters were arrested for sitting at city hall and then through the month of march, the newspapers claimed the strike was failing as scams were -- scabs were operating 90 garr ban -- garbage trucks.
but 7,000 memphis residents attended a rally where dr. king called for a citywide march. then as dr. king returned to memphis on april 3, delivering his famous "i've been to the mountain top" address, and then that day, on april 4, on april 4, 1968, as he prepared to march with the workers, dr. martin luther king jr. was assassinate those opposed, no balcony of his hotel in memphis, tennessee, and in the days following his assassination, workers continued their strike in honor of dr. king and with renewed courage and resolve to demand safe working conditions. it's the samplee phrase, i am a man, that drove them, a simple phrase, one that acknowledged their humanhood, one that acknowledged them as workers, i am a man. then finally, on april 16, some
three months of the start of their strike, the sanitation workers of the american federation of state, county, and municipal employees asked me, agreed, and reached an agreement with city officials granting an increase in pay, a grievance procedure, an over-- and overtime pay. this is the history of the sanitation workers of memphis. it is the history of workers throughout this country. and it's the history of workers today. with that, i'd like to yield to the congressman from new york, mr. tonko. mr. tonko: whatever order is fine with you to join with you. the dignity that was addressed, the respect factor of "i am a man" that rhetoric that speaks to the working individual, that speaks to mue man -- humanity, the man, the woman, the child, the digny -- dignity, the respect shown, is all that was
embraced in that message that struck all of america, touched all americans. i'm of the age that i remember that tragic day. it came so clustered, in a short five years, we lost three great leaders to bullets. and it is just really a tragic outcome and you can't help but find yourself questioning, what if their march continued? how different would america be? i find it interesting that his last major appearance and effort was for workers. fighting for workers. for the dignity of work and the dignity of workers. the assault on workers' rights that he was addressing, we see today in the news. we see it in wisconsin, we see it in michigan, we see it in ohio. and it's like the same battles are here to be fought an won. so the spirit of martin encourages, i think builds our
determination, and i think it builds our resilience. the effort americans need to associate with the overall cause for concern for job creation an job retention is so vitally important. many would choose to have us believe that it's a high rate of firings that is occurring out there but it's really a low rate of hirings which is a different sort of saga. we need to invest now in worker opportunities, in training, retraining, education, in job creation. i'm a firm believer that, and i no many are, that -- and i know many are, that unemployment is driving our deficit and if we invest in jobs and invest in the worker, we'll see a corresponding benefit on the flip side for this nation. i think the stats tell it all,
that the bottom 50% of income earners in the united states now collectively earn less than 1% of the nation's wealth. that's a startling fact. an we need to make certain that there is more justice that is produced out there. as i said earlier, i really do believe the purchasing power we can enhance for america's working families, for our middle class, for me mainstream worker out there is empowering for us. someone needs to purchase the products that those on the top may produce by their ownership but the worker to build that product and the worker to buy that product is an important key, perhaps most important ingredient in the equation. and when we look at the fact that some five people are lined up for every job opportunity in this country, and when we look at the fact that workers' rights are under assault today in many areas across this
country, there is a great amount of unfinished business. on this anniversary commemoration of a great leader's death, it is important for us to rechit our energies and our spirit to speaking to the needs of america's workers. nothing could honor dr. martin luther king's legacy and that man more vibrantly than speaking to job creation, job retention, workers' rights and prevention of what we're seeing happening where there's an assault on those rights across the country. again, thank you, representative edwards, for bringing this solemn opportunity together on this floor, where so many issues were addressed in favorable measure that were driven by the courage and the boldness and the noble vision of dr. martin luther king and other great leaders like j.f.k. and r.f.k. who traveled that same era in
history. mr. edwards: i thank the gentleman from new york and appreciate your leadership and your being here this evening to mark this day with us for workers. with that, i yield to the congresswoman from the virgin islands, donna christensen. mrs. christensen: it should give all workers who are fighting for their rights today extra incentive, some extra inspiration as we commemorate this day and all that dr. martin luther king fought for as they continue that fight and we continue to support them in that fight. i'm reminded that on april 7, in the capital of illinois in springfield, i was there a week ago, they'll be having a major rally on bhf of working people in this country. i want to salute the folks in springfield on that march. in addition to fighting for
workers' rights, when dr. king died, he was planning the poor people's campaign in washington and i was here, studying for my boards and went over to volunteer in the medical tent and it rained and it poured and people came in from all over this cupry to the poor people's campaign to call attention -- all over this country to the poor people's campaign to call attention to the plight of poor people in this country. as we are celebrating as the black caucus our 40th anniversary, we are still fighting that fight. our main agenda is pathways out of poverty, we've had that as our agenda for the last two years and continue with that for this congress as well. but that was a remarkable time as well. i think it did a lot to change
my life in the middle of my medical studies and the course of my career, probably has something to do with why i'm here today. but i wanted to also just remind everyone that as we fight for the workers and remember dr. king's fight for working men and women, he also was steadfastly working to help to find pathways out of poverty for those who were poor then and we continue to fight for those por poor -- -- for those who are poor and to find ways to lift them up and lift their families up out of poverty. i yield back to my colleague. ms. edwards sprk thank you, congresswoman christensen and also for your leadership in bringing us together in these important hours on the floor of the house of representatives. to discuss the issues that are of the deepest concern to communities of color, to working families across this
country and a reminder of the reason that many of us have chosen to serve. you know, dr. king knew so deeply that the middle class is indeed the back bone of the american economy. and that by strengthening the middle class we move our nation forward. he would understand today that by giving tax breaks to oil companies and special privileges to the wealthy, we forget our allegiance to the most pop -- populous among us, the middle class he understood the struggle of sanitation workers, of organizing workers and making sure that workers were able to take care of themselves and their families as a way of moving workers into the middle class. he understood, like so many of us do, that particularly for african-american people that our connection to organized labor is so important because
it is through the ability to organize and to fight for our rights against injustice that we're able to move our families into the middle class. dr. king knew so tremendously the connection between the plight of negros and working people. he said at the convention in december, 1961, and i quote, negros are almost entirely a working people. there are pitfully few negro millionaires and few negro employers. our needs are identical with labors needs, decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old age security, health and welfare measures, continues in which families can grow, have education for their children and respect in the
community. dr. king spoke those words in december, 1961. those words could be spoken today. dr. king reminded the workers of the united auto workers district 65 convention in september, 1962, that in the area of politics that labor and african-americans, kneeing rose, have identical interests. he said, and i quote again, labor has grave problems today of employment, shorter hours, old age security, housing and retraining against the impact of auto mation. the congress and the administration are almost as indifferent to labors' program as they are toward that of the negro. toward both they offer vastly less than adequate remedies for the problems which are a torment to us day after day.
those words spoken today speak to the plight of the work force to minority communities, to working families across this country. spoken in 1962 could be spoken today in 2011. some 40-some years later. you know, one of the things that i continue to be touched by is that i was just a young girl when dr. king died on april 4, but i always remember that day. i remember that day in my family, i remember the sadness and the tragedy, but i also remember the struggle and i think generations since my own and until now recall that struggle and i think today for the sanitation workers and remembering their struggle of some three months to gain the respect and dignity in the
workplace, i am a man. now today we might right this, if we had to create this placard today, we might write, i am a woman, i am a man, i am a human being, but it still speaks to the same value. to the value of humanity and justice in the workplace. and that's the value that dr. king spoke to, it is a value for which he died. it is a value that lives in his legacy. and so again i'm just pleased that my colleagues have been able to join with us today, not on a day of sadness, april 4, but on a day of remembrance, on a day of reinvigration and recommitment to those ideals that have guided us and that continue us in our struggle with and for the workers across this country.
and with that, i would like to yield again just very briefly to my colleague from new york, paul tonko. mr. tonko: thank you, representative edwards. you know, i would have to say that i truly believe that if dr. king were in our presence today he would remind us that a budget is a series of priorities and what we place high, what we place most precious in that budget we would see that as a document that speaks to a family. just like a household will balance their needs, their concerns with their abilities to pay and put together the balancing, so too does the family of america require that sort of tender balancing. and he would remind us that, you know, here are families, whether they're employed, critically unemployed or marginally underemployed, whatever the situation might be, today america's middle class is living paycheck to paycheck. that's becoming more and more
the scenario. and he would have suggested that, look, we need to take that concern for mortgages, that concern for college tuition, that concern for just pay, the concern for utility bills, the concern for food costs and energy costs, take all of that, invest in the american working families, contrast that with what the other scenario might look like, handouts to oil companies, corporate loopholes that are not shut, tax breaks for the most comfortable in society. that is the contrast he would challenge us to face head on and to understand this about social and economic injustice, it's about bringing more balance, more fairness into the equation. as a clergyman, you know, he embraced the faith and brought it into the community, brought it into america, challenged us to respond in compassionate measure. we have it within our means to do this in a fair and just way.
and that's why we are at a tipping point in this nation's history. where we need to look at revitalizing the middle class. i represent many modest annual income households and they have told me their fears about maintaining their home, their fears about educating their children, their fears about tomorrow, having the opportunity. i'm optimistic that we can do it because we have the skills here within the congress to make it happen. and make it work in a progressive fashion. do we have the will? and that would be the challenge, that would be the challenge from dr. king. this very evening. do we have the will to move forward in progressive fashion? so thank you, donna edwards, thank you, representative edwards, for bringing us together tonight in contribute to a giant. edsedseds thank you. with that i'd like to yield -- ms. edwards: thank you. with that i'd like to yield to
congresswoman donna christensen. mrs. christensen: thank you. i want to thank you for helping us commemorate not home the sanitation workers strike but the life and legacy of dr. king and it is unfortunate that as we are here tonight remembering the day that the assassination took place of this great american and great human being, that on the day after we expect a budget that is going to do just the opposite of what dr. king would have wanted us to do. in the last congress we were able to strengthen medicare, to expand its solvency, 12 years, we were able to pass the affordable care act which would expand medicaid and make sure that just because you were poor you were not going to not have the ability to have quality health care and tomorrow we expect the budget that's going to come to talk about
privatizing medicare and ending it as we know it, sacrificing the health care for seniors and children. taking -- making an enormous cut in medicaid and really taking away the hope that people had when we passed that affordable care act, that they could not only have health care, but really aspire to improving their health and their entire well-being of themselves, their families and their communities. so as we meet here this evening to talk about dr. king and to talk about the challenges that our working men and women have, talk about the challenges of health care for those who are poor, of all race and ethnicities, and to recommit ourselves in the memory of dr. king, fighting for working men
and women and those two need that extra hand to lift themselves and their families out of poverty, i just want to say that the congressional black caucus has been doing this for 40 years now, i want to again recognize our founding members for their perseverance. we still have two of those members serving with us, congressman charles rangel, and congressman john conyers, and to let the american people know that we will continue to fight on their behalf tomorrow and every day, as long as it's necessary. and i yield back to you. ms. edwards: thank you so much, congresswoman christensen. i am so proud to be a member of the congressional black caucus, with a 40-year history and legacy of fighting for justice
and looking out for the most vulnerable and giving voice to people who would not have a voice in this united states congress. and i'd like to -- we're about ready to close, and i'd like to end the evening and the hour by pointing to those at home, those in this chamber, thank there was an op ed in today's pape that are actually brings together the two forces -- paper that actually brings together the two forces that dr. king was bringing together even just before he was so tragically assassinated. bringing together the civil rights movement and the labor movement. in an op ed today in today's "wharf post" entitled "a middle class dream that cannot die," a president of the national association for the advancement of colored people, the naacp,
and mary kay henry, who is the president of the international president of the service employees international union, draw together that middle class dream for the american people that's built on a foundation of civil rights and social justice and partnered with labor and working people. i am a man. i'd like to close this evening by reminding again all of us that april 4 and the day, the years that we remember in between, are years about building upon a tragedy to build a legacy. i am a man. and dr. king reminded us again about the fight for jobs and retirement security and health care and care for the most
vulnerable. those are still today's struggles. the workers that we've spoken about in wisconsin and ohio and indiana and all across this country, who struggle for that dignity, i am a man. dr. king's words in his famous speech, "i've been to the mountaintop" that he spoke just before he was assassinated, and i just want to read a portion of that that really speaks to me as a member of congress, as a member of the congressional black caucus. and dr. king said, and i quote, let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness, let us stand with a greater determination and let us move on these powerful days, these days of challenge, to make america what it ought to be.
we have an opportunity to make america a better nation. and with that i yield. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the gentleman from georgia, mr. woodall, is recognized for 30 minutes. mr. woodall: i thank the speaker and i'm glad i was able to get in on the tail end that have previous special order, as a proud resident of the state of georgia, of course we have the king center open to folks each and every day of the week. and if folks have not had a chance to go by and see that, it's really a fantastic testimony to the life and times of a gentleman whose true impact on this country we may not know for generations and generations to come. i could not be prouder to have that with me. so i very much appreciate being able to listen in. i too am down here to talk about opportunity tonight. it's april 4, it's tax season. and the fair tax is a proposal
that is near and dear to my heart and a proposal that i believe has its time coming in opportunity. the largest tax that 80% of american families pay, mr. speaker, is the payroll tax. that's fica tax, that our teenagers begin to see when they take on their part time jobs. 80% of american families pay more in that fica tax than they do in income taxes or any other tax on their ledger and yet we spend all of our time talking about income taxes. we rarely take a look at the payroll tax. we'll spend hours on the house floor talking about tax credits and tax deductions and tax expenditures and tax exemptions. we'll talk about lobbyists and the tax opportunities that they're looking for, for their big business clients. we'll talk about loopholes and all of the unfairness of the united states tax code. but we rarely talk about the payroll tax. this is one of the few times in the year when everyone is
willing to focus on taxes for an extended period of time to come town here and implore my colleagues to take a look at the fair tax and join us in the fight to repeal the income tax, both the personal income tax and the corporate income tax, the capital gains tax, gift tax, estate tax, dividend tax, self-employment tax and on and on, to replace them all with a single rate personal consumption tax, the fair tax. i was talking with a c.e.o. in my district while i was home who said, rob, we're trying to leave america as fast as we can. you passed laws recently that made it harder for us to do that, but we're leaving as fast as we can because america is not the climate to do business in anymore. we heard my colleagues say the unemployment isn't because people are being fired, it's because new people aren't being
hired and the new people -- the folks who generate those jobs are the small businesses. how do you generate those jobs when you have the highest corporate tax rates in the world, when you have some of the highest self-employment tax rates in the world, and on and on and on. we can do a lot in this country to destroy success. we can't do a lot to create success. we can -- we have a platform here in this country already on which anyone by the sweat of their brow can make something of themselves yet the home depot, one of the founders of the home depot, a proud resident of the state of georgia said if he and his colleagues got together to start that company they would fail. they cowl not succeed in starting a company in today's business environment, the regulatory environment, the labor environment and the tax environment. here in april, bill returning to the floor each and every day through april 15 to talk about one little part of the fair
tax. we talked a little bit last friday about how it does away with every single corporate exemption on the books. every loophole, every credit, every favor, absolutely every one. it's the only bill in congress that does that, mr. speaker. eliminates every single corporate loophole in the tax code because we know businesses don't pay taxes anyway. we eliminate the corporate income tags and allow that to be paid at the personal consumer level. tonight i want to talk about jobs. i want to talk about that jobs don't come from the federal government or even from big corporations. jobs come from small entrepreneurs and risk takers. the power to tax is the power to destroy. and we have used the power to tax, to tax income. to tax that productiveness that each and every american goes to work for every day. our founding fathers had a different view. they taxed consumption. they put tariffs on the goods they imported from overseas
under the theory if you had enough money to spend on a silver tea set from england you had enough money to participate in funding your federal government that all changed in the early part of the 20th century and we have an opportunity to change it back. h.r. 25, the fair tax, the single most largely co-sponsored tax bill in either the house or the senate, more co-sponsors on that bill than any other piece of fundamental tax legislation, we need more help. today we have 59 co-spons -- co-sponsors of that legislation an we need more help to make the fair tax a reality. we'll have over the next 15 days those opportunities. you can visit our webpage at woodall.house.gov, you can visit the fair tax folks' webpage at fairtax.org. come and see what the fair tax offers in terms of opportunity. opportunity. the current tax code brings power to this city.
whether you sit on the left or the right, something happens when you get to washington and you believe you're the smartest person in the room and you begin to find ways to ma lip nate -- manipulate people's behavior in hopes that you can make them happy too. i can create a rule my father would love and my mother would hate. we're not in the business of making people happy. we're in the business of ensuring opportunity. we can are absolutely ensure that emp in the country is poor, we cannot ep sure that everyone is rich. we can only provide the opportunity. the fair tax provides that opportunity by taking away the impediments today. 80% of americans pay more in payroll taxes. if you're self-employed, you'll see the self-employment figure. 80% of americans never get
touched by the tax bill. we're going to make america an opportunity society, with that, i'm grateful to you for indulging me to talk about a passion that's near and dear to my heart and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back his time. the chair lays before the house the following personal requests. the clerk: leave of absence requested for mr. baca of california for today.
and the outlook for congress this week. then, the anti-defamation league hears from president obama as national security guards with visor on unrest in the middle east and the palestinian conflict. >> throughout the month of april, we will feature the winners of this year's c-span studentcam competition. they submitted work on "washington d.c., through my lens." this is just before "washington journal," and me to the students who create them. strain all of the videos online -- stream them. >> attorney general eric holder talked about the 9/11 plotters,
and he said congress is undermining counter-terrorism efforts. >> in november, 2009, i announced that individuals would stand trial in federal court for their roles in the terrorist attacks on our country on september 11, 2001. as i said then, the decision between the federal courts and military commissions was not an easy one to make. i looked at this case in an open mind and to look at the facts,
the law, and to choose a venue where we could achieve swift and fair justice most effectively for the victims of those koran as a tax and the family members. after consulting prosecutors from both the department of justice and the department of defense, and after a fairly steady in the case, the best venue for prosecution was in federal court. i stand by that decision today. as the indictment unsealed today reveals, we were prepared to bring a powerful case against khalid shaikh mohammed and the four co-conspirators. one of the most well-documented cases i have ever seen in my decades of experience as a prosecutor. we have carefully evaluate the evidence and concluded that we --ld prove the defendant's
and weants' guilt, developed detailed plans for handling classified evidence, or an alternative venue in the united states, as a seriously explored in the last year. i and confidence are justice department could have performed with distinction that has been its hallmark for over 200 years. unfortunately, since i made that decision, members of congress of intervened and imposed restrictions blocking the administration from britney any of the guantanamo bay detainees to trial, regardless of the venue. those on was an unwarranted decisions could harm our national security. decisions about who, where, and how to prosecute have always
been and must remain the responsibility of the executive branch. members of congress simply do not have access to the evidence and other information necessary to make prosecution judgments. it yet, we have taken one of the nation's most tested counter- terrorism tools off of the table and tied our hands in a way that could have serious ramifications. we will continue to seek to repeal those restrictions. but we also must face a simple truth. those restrictions are unlikely to be repealed in the immediate future, and we simply cannot allow the trial to be delayed any longer for the victims of the 9/11 attacks or for their family members who have waited nearly a decade for justice. i have spoken with family members on many occasions over the past years. like many americans, they differ
on where the 9/11 people should be prosecuted, but there is one thing that they agree, we must bring them to justice, so today, i am referring to cases of khalid shaikh mohammed it and the others to the department of defense to proceed in military commissions. furthermore, i have directed prosecutors to move to dismiss the indictment that was handed down in december 2009, and a judge heard that motion. the department of defense and justice have been working together since the beginning of this matter, and i have full faith and confidence in the military system to appropriately handle this case as it proceeds. the department of justice will continue to offer all of the support necessary in this
critically important matter as it moves forward. the administration will work with congress to substantially reformed military commissions of 2009, and i believe they can get a fair trial and just verdict. for the victims of these attacks and their families, they are just as long overdue, and it must not be delayed any longer. since i made the decision to prosecute the alleged 9/11 conspirators, our courts and the thousands of prosecutors, judges, law enforcement officers, and attorneys have been subjected to a number of unfair and often unfounded criticisms. too many people, many of whom should know better, many of whom certainly do no better, have expressed doubts about our time honored and time tested system of justice. that is not only misguided, it is simply wrong. the fact is, federal courts have
proven to be able to bring terrorists to justice. our prisons today hold hundreds, many of them serving long sentences. there is no other tool that has demonstrated the ability to both incapacitate terrorist and collect intelligence from them over such a diverse range of circumstances as our traditional justice system. but we be clear. let me be very clear. our national security demands that we continue to prosecute terrorist and federal courts and we will do so. our heritage and our values and legacy for future generations demands that we have a full faith and confidence in a court system that had distinguished this nation throughout its history. i want to think the prosecutors from the southern district of new york and eastern district of
virginia you've spent countless hours working to bring this case to trial. they are some of the most dedicated and patriotic americans i have ever encountered. our nation is safer because of the work that they do every day. they honored their country of their efforts on this case and i thank them for it. i am proud of each and every one of them. sadly, this case has been marked by needless controversy since the beginning. despite all the arguments and debate that it has engendered, the prosecution of colleague -- the prosecution should never have been about its selling ideological arguments or scoring political points. at the end of our indictment, the names of 2976 people were killed in the attacks on the deadly september day nearly 10 years ago. innocent americans and citizens of foreign countries alike were
murdered by ruthless terrorists intent on crippling our nation and attacking the values we hold dear. this case has always been about delivering justice for those victims and for their surviving loved ones. it is about nothing else. it is my sincere hope that the actions that we take today, we will finally be able to deliver the justice they have so long deserved. >> we describe is the blocks on congress, it was passed last year. there was a hold your that the indictment was handed up from the grand jury. why not move faster? in february, you ran into some 9/11 family is on capitol hill and you told them that it was rolling the dice.
today, you said you have complete faith in the process. has there been a change? >> back in november -- i think the article 3 courts are the best place to bring them. regarding the amount of time that it took, in 2009, we were in the process of reforming the military commission. there were local concerns expressed about the bringing the case to manhattan. congress started to deal with these restrictions to be put in place. we try to fight. we made this decision as quickly as we could, taking into account all the factors. i consider the possibility to bring in the case other than manhattan, but within the southern district of york. >> it's your understanding about bringing these cases to the military commission allows for seeking the death penalty? that is one of the concerns. >> the death penalty can
certainly be saw. -- saw. -- sought. >> what is your position about the administration closing guantanamo? >> we will fight to get those restrictions lifted. we will have an impact on our ability to close guantanamo. we will probably extend the time. it is still our intention to close guantanamo and to lift those restrictions. >> i would refer those to the department of defense. >> you have been pretty clear on how you feel about the congressional actions here. presumably, most of those lawmakers represent constituents who have their own reviews.
is it your thinking bad you know best and that there is just no room for the public's view on where a trial should be held? >> i do not want to hold myself out as omniscient. i know this case. in a way that members of congress do not. i've looked at the file, i've spoken to the prosecutors, i know the tactical concerns. do i know better than them? yes. i respect their ability to disagree. but they should respect the fact that this was an executive branch function. i have to deal with the situation as i find it and i have reluctantly made the determination that these cases should be brought in a military commission. >> the groups in new york city that came to oppose the trial there -- should they have any voice at all?
>> we took into account a whole variety of things. it was one of the reasons why i considered the possibility of bringing its to the southern district of new york. it would have lowered the cost pretty dramatically. it was taken off the table by congress. look, i grew up in new york city. i grew up in queens. i went to school in manhattan. it is a place that i consider home. i have full confidence in the ability of the people of new york, the authorities of new york, to try the case safely and securely. if i did not have that faith, i would not have made that initial determination. >> based on what you just said about the death penalty, does that mean yet -- there is a very real chance that they could serve life in prison as opposed to getting the death penalty?
>> i will defer that to the folks at the department of defense. it is an open question, but it is one that it could be resolved. >> that sounds like 10 more years of litigation all the way back to the supreme court, maybe 20 years after the anniversary, this could still be litigated. >> i am confident in the ability of the folks in the military commissions to bring this case before the appropriate authorities within a relatively short period of time. what i hope i've done today is to hasten the date by which victims and families of victims will have some certainty. >> thank you. >> ms. mcconnell responded to the attorney general -- mitch mcconnell responded to the attorney general. >> amid all the other business will be facing this week, i would like to note a welcome
development and the war on terror. for the last two years, the obama administration has actively sought to bring the 9/11 plotters into our communities for civilian trials, a completely horrible idea. that rightly drew overwhelmingly bipartisan opposition from the american people and from their elected representatives here in congress. today the administration is announcing that it has changed course. the administration, incredibly enough, today is announcing it has changed course. and that khalid sheikh mohammed and the others who plotted these terrible attacks, today the administration is announce tag it changed course and that khalid sheikh mohammed and the others who plotted these attacks will be tried in military
commissions at guantanamo bay, rather than at a civilian court in new york or some other u.s. stivment i remember autumn of our discussions on this issue over the last two years. the president issued an executive order on day one to close guantanamo down, indicated they were glg to mainstream that's terrorists under the u.s. court system. so this change today is truly a welcome development. the administration is announcing that k.s.m. and the others who plotted these crimes will be tried in a proper jurisdiction -- these military commissions -- at the proper place for these commission trials -- guantanamo bay. this is the right outcome to the long and spirited debate that preceded this decision. military commissions at guantanamo, far from the u.s. mainland, were always the right idea for a variety of compelling reasons, which and others have
enumerated repeatedly over the last two years. for the sake of the safety and the security of the american people, i'm glad the president reconsidered his position on how and where to try these detainees. going forward, this model should be the rule rather than the exception. i'm sure this decision will draw widespread approval and it is very welcome news. >> on c-span3, house republicans released their proposed budget for 2012. that is at 10:30. at 12:15, a memorial service for washington post reporter and columnist david broder, who died
last month at the age of 81 great speakers include joe biden. >> the c-span video library has just won a peabody award for its contribution to history and public life. you can watch every program that has aired on the c-span network since 1987. over 170,000 hours of archived video. it is washington, your way. >> a panel including 1 democrats and one republican discuss the first 100 days of the one default congress. -- 100 told congress. -- 112th congress. from the american enterprise institute, this is an hour and 20 minutes.
>> i am a senior fellow here at the american enterprise institute. i would like to welcome all of you and our c-span viewers to this session. an early look at the new congress. this morning, and i promise you that this is no april fool's joke, the research center released the results of one of their periodic quizzes and a reported that 30% of the americans know that the republicans control the house, but not the senate. current politics in washington are a mystery to many and i am hoping better panel this morning will solve some of the mystery about the state of washington politics.
john has been at 8 shai 4 12.5 years and then that time, he has added greatly to the work of our political -- aei 412 1/2 years. he recently updated the indispensable volume after the people vote. he has worked tirelessly to get people in washington to focus on continuity of government issues. john is going to be leaving us in a few weeks for a new assignment. he will become the director of the democracy project at the bipartisan policy center. the democracy project is a bipartisan initiative that analyzes and advocates for improvements in democratic institutions. its main current projects are
strengthening civil discourse and congressional redistricting. we wish john well in this challenging assignment and we will miss him greatly. i will turn it over to you. >> thank you. thank you for the many kindnesses over the years from you and from the institution. i will not be a stranger, just a few blocks away. we've got a great panel today. i will do some introductions. first, it bit of news about donald trump. he has declared president. he is declared for president of latvia. his personal but it was not correct and it -- his birth certificate was not correct and it turns out that he was born in a different place. but it is a bowlfuls. -- it is april polls. our panelists are are among the
country's leading experts on congress and can talk about what is going on today. but can also talk about comparisons to 1995 and to some other times where the majority has changed from one party to another. i will start to my right. he is the managing partner -- he served in the house of representatives from 1981 to 1983. he served on the science and technology, a small business, public works, that budget and appropriations committees. and was conference secretary in the leadership for the republicans. his former partner and senior adviser also served in congress from 1979 to 1999 representing
california's third district. he was on the appropriations committee, at 6 committees, as well as the democratic caucus. janet hook, a political reporter, has been covering congress since the 1980's when she was an elementary school. for the los angeles times, the wall street journal. she is the winner of several important awards in journalism. we're very lucky to have alex
with the. all the cuts he tells us today it will be is done, except for the jokes. no pressure, alex. >> that is not a good deal. >> alex is a research fellow here at the american enterprise institute. he formerly was senior adviser and chief economist on the house ways and means committee as well as the staff of the president's council of economic advisers. we will start with a round of questions. what i would like to do is not spend all of our time in the past, but to think about one obvious comparison to 1995 when republicans had taken the majority and a state democratic president and had an actual budget showdown. i thought i might start with janet. let her set the stage of 1995.
paint a big picture of what had been happening and how we got to the end of 1995, when the big budget showdown came through. this a big picture of where you were in 1995. >> in 1995, you have to remember that the 1994 elections were not in the old handover of power from one party to another. that was the first time in 40 years that the house had gone -- it was a really big deal. not only was it the entire congress, but it was the house for the very first time. it was not just a political change that change the agenda. it was a huge institutional wrenching experience. when republicans took control of
the house, they did not just change the agenda. they tried to change the way congress works. they abolished committees, they streamline things. newt gingrich change the nature of the speakership. he turned it into a much more centralized form of leadership. he was the center of all things because he was a larger-than- life figure. he had a lot of power, and he used it. to be honest, when i think about -- in addition to that, he brought power, his 100 days' agenda. the contract with america. the first 100 days were quite exhausting for members of congress, and those of recovering it. from there proceeded some of the longer-term confrontations with the clinton white house.
if i could say, i do not want to talk at great length about this point, but i am struck by the differences between 1995 and today. john boehner it is many things, but it is not a larger-than-life figure. these republicans came to power not with a big 10. agenda -- 10-point agenda. they have not accomplished a lot legislatively. they transformed the terms of debate. it really does feel very different. of course, there is this problem of senate -- the sense not been under republican control -- the senate not been under republican control. >> let me turn to vin. if you could tell us about the republican mood that year. take this into the end of the
year where we reach the final budget showdown. what republicans were thinking, and if i am not wrong, republicans are confident enough that public opinion might turn in their direction. talk a little bit about the gear in general. tell us a little bit about what was in the minds of leaders going into that in the 1995. >> gets laid the framework for eckerd the most important similarities -- janet laid the framework for it. the republicans came to washington with the shock of their own victory. republicans did not think they would control the congress great newt gingrich predicted it, but most people dismissed it as a newt. when they came into power, at there was a sense of all that what they had done. similar to this election.
there were more republicans that that they might take the house at this time. but the magnitude of their victory this time surprised everybody. in both cases, what you have seen, it convince republicans that the public was demanding change and if they did not act on it, and they would lose the majority that they just one by such a surprising shocking margin. i think that drove out the actions of congress back in 1905, as it is driving the actions of house republicans today. it is not americans. it is a genuine concern that they will not be able to keep up with the expectations of the public that this is put them in power.
i think john boehner is a pretty effective speaker, but nobody believes that he delivered the majority. republicans were ready to follow him in any direction. they figured they would not have been in the majority without him. when he led for the shutdown of the government or the confrontation with the clinton administration, there was a great deal of confidence that the ended the day, the guy who delivered the majority for the first time in 40 years was going to win politically in this confrontation by the way, he still believes that he won the in that confrontation. that was pretty much the attitude. you cannot really overstate the difference between newt gingrich-led congress and a john boehner-led house. >> i would like to hear a point
of view from the democratic side and maybe you could talk about the role of the president. if you want to make some comparisons about the president today. big you could tell us about the democratic -- maybe you could tell us about the democratic view of having lost the house after being in power for 40 years. >> first of all, there were shellshocked. those of us who ran the campaign committee into the ground that year, saw what was happening and tried to alert the troops without screaming the sky is falling. it only would have fallen faster. many of the members were unable to do anything about it, even in their own districts, in their own campaigns. it really was the creation of a lot of dead wood.
some of them are my dear friends. people who had been there a long time and did not contain defectively for many years. it was the culmination of what lbj said when he signed the civil rights bill and the mid- 1960s. we've lost this outrage generation. it took 30 years for it to play out, but it became the republican cutting edge, winning seats in the south. there were part of the newt gingrich coalition. i know a lot of my republican friends think of him as -- when he could not become eisenhower, he went. democrats were pretty easy targets at that point. today, that is not the case. nancy pelosi was very effective in the minority. winning the majority. democrats lost its majority for
many reasons, but much of it related to events that they believe were beyond their control. maybe you could say they were off message by emphasizing health care in the face of all the joblessness, but there is no question that they are far more prepared to be in the minority now that the democrats who came back here in 1995. i mean, many of us -- i got 48% to get reelected i have never appreciated libertarianism as much as i did then. the third-party candidates were essential. today, the people this survived this waves were caught up in it knowing there was nothing they could do. they were being pulled out to sea and they could not release slammed hard enough to mitigate that. many of them knew what was going -- but was coming. it was not a surprise. the degree, yes, but they saw
the trend. tougher.ar they were not there long enough to of cotton complacent. this terribly are anxious to come back. bill clinton was very effective at seguing into the role of being that other branch of government. using his strength elevation to play off -- triangulaztion. this time, we have a different kind of president. he is not as into doing that as some of his advisers would like him to be. his personal relationships with people on the hill make it hard for him to set them up as the target. so much of his presidency is caught up in the issue of the
moment, the joblessness issue, a little bit of progress this morning will go along way. he feels that his presidency is pretty much on the line in relation to the job market and economy and the public perception thereof. i think the democrats will pick up some seats in the house. how many? i do not know. we are learning as we have known for years that everybody is for deficit reduction until you get into the details. democrats would be better off if some of the cuts were implemented. they're great in theory. when they are actually imposed, they do not really pan out. look at the governors across the spectrum. whether you are democrats in connecticut or republican in ohio, you are in the tank. you started to do some things christie isis
losing support in new jersey. people do not understand what is really involved and balancing a budget of the state level. >> bill clinton came back from his loss, but at the time, he still was pretty far down compared to work president obama is today. did that figure into -- are you more worried about your president? again he will have to park your own ways? >> democrats were so shellshocked in 1995 that there were more dependent on the white house. it was a little bit of recrimination about the ineffectiveness in the first two years. the things that led to the demise on guns by trying to make
-- by jamming that into the crime bill, which was otherwise popular and caused 40 disk -- cost 40 democrats -- cost 40 democrats to lose. >> it changed the gun issue forever. >> billing to pass a health care bill. newt gingrich would never had led to or three committees stop the health care bill from coming to the floor. he would put a task force together and a week later, there would have been a bill on the floor. and it would have passed. whether it would then enacted, at -- we have the worst of all worst trade we offended everybody who did not like the health care bill. and then we couldn't pass the for those in loved it. i do not think anybody is blaming obama for the policies that they all work to put through. they may be unhappy about his
communication and is an ability to make his case, but they are not really at odds with him on what the case was. >> i want to move a little bit more to the present. i have some comparative questions i will try to spring glen has to go forward. 80 i can turn back to janet and then to alex about where we are now -- maybe i can turn back to janet and into alex. where are we now and what are we likely to see in the next few days? it is not the 100 daymark today technically. it is the day that the cr expires, but it is coming up. >> where we are now on the is there are all kinds of different budget dynamics at work. most of the focus is on the status of the continuing resolution, which expires next week. it has been a very interesting week and events surrounding the because it shows me how
different things are than they were before this election. i always thought that when this budget debate emerged, it was kind of obvious what would happen. the republicans wanted spending at 2008 levels. democrats wanted at 2010 levels. how about we split the difference? negotiators get together in a room and leaders decide and cut a deal and they go out and selling to their members and a cassette. -- and they passed it. that does not work these days. splitting the difference is a discredited comp -- concept among the tea party republicans. there has been some kind of an agreement -- it is not quite a deal because there is been no handshake. republicans wanted to cut $61 billion. $33 billion in cuts. john boehner, ever since the
vice-president camel and so we're working towards this number, john boehner has denied there is been any kind of agreement on the number. there is this funny dance going on. there are these private negotiations going on among the appropriations committee. they also have all of these unrelated policy riders that are even more controversial and harder to spot the difference on the numbers themselves. epa policy and so forth. there are two steps of negotiations going on. it is this alice in wonderland thing or the democrats say we have a deal on the number and republicans did they do not. this will golan on this 2-track public-private money policy in for a week. hopefully, there will not be shut down at the end of the
week. i have to say -- i can usually see an event how things are going to go. i am not sure anymore twists and turns this is going to take. >> can i ask you to talk about the republican divisions? budget strategy for different parts of the congress? >> thank you for having me here. i am sorry that norm is not here. i would rather be in the audience hearing his jokes. i will avoid attempts at humor because i'm just a substitute this morning. one of the challenges and the next seven days as they try to put together a bill has to do with the fact that there is a new dynamic from the new members. many of the brush and members of the house did not come to compromise. -- many of the freshmen members
of the house did not come to compromise. they believe there is a difference between compromise and winning. a lot of members to look in your free longer time and served in the majority understand that winning and compromise are one in the same. i worked up on the hill for a number of years for someone who is known as a dealmaker, someone who could get a bill signed. i were to the chairman of the ways and means committee. one thing i learned from my experience is that if you lose, no matter how great your principles are, you are not moving the ball ahead. we worked on a lot of deals and i saw a lot of deals to put together that ultimately involved compromise. everything that gets enacted into law has things in it that you do not like and that is how you know that you have reached your deal point.
that is a new concept for some in the house. something that needs to be worked through in the next week. the house has not lost yet. they have not done anything yet, but they haven't lost yet either. there's been a couple of bills that have made it across the finish line. the attendees short-term -- there have been short term. the -- those bills are bipartisan by nature. those bills have been bipartisan within the house as well. the last cr we had -- 85 democrats came on. as they work through negotiations over the next week, they will be thinking about the fact that the last cr, bid 53
extra votes. it is all about 218 in the house and is about finding a compromise. i do not know if there is a policy up there now. would i was there, there was a concept of the majority of the majority. we did not bring bills to the floor that would not pass with the majority of the majority. i think that it's not a new concept at the time either. i certainly -- is one that is on people's mind at the moment. they do have a cushion coming into this negotiations based off the last and they will be playing those margins. however they work to solve this negotiations between the house, the senate, and the white house, and they're going to need to depend on the democrats' majority in the senate and will need to rely on democrats and
the house. going into this process, they've got them. the question is, some of these issues become non starters. it is difficult to deal with a nonstarter under this kind of time pressure. i am not surprised that a deal has not been made today. a deal is not going to be made over that weekend or monday or tuesday. i do not think i ever saw a deal that did not get made in the afternoon before everybody went home. they will keep negotiating until there is no more time to negotiate. and then they will try to negotiate a little bit more. i didn't able get somewhere at the end of the day. >> -- i do think they will get somewhere at the end of the day. >> the think that this deal will happen? -- do you think that this deal will happen?
if john boehner puts together a deal, puts it through with some democratic votes, is that going to hurt some and the caucus? is that a sign of his strength in being a deal maker? >> i was up on the hill yesterday and i spoke to two members of the republican leadership separately. i did the conversation, i said, are we going to have a shot down? one said yes, one said no. that tells to the basic answer to the question. this is very unpredictable. i think they will avoid a shutdown. republicans really do not want to see it happen. democrats do not want to see it happen. i am not sure the democrats are quite so sure about that this time as the might of been in retrospect.
i think they will manage to avoid it, but it is a close call. the politics of the majority of the majority is a very interesting on this one. john boehner seems ready to move beyond that if that is necessary to produce a majority. there is a lot of speculation about the competition between john boehner and erick kanter. i tend to think that john boehner is a very skillful speaker and he will be ok. they're working very hard with the freshmen members, and have been for months now. meeting with them in small groups to talk about keeping their eyes on the big issue, which is going to be the fy 2012 budget. to the extent they have convinced the french and that it is the big issue, the leadership
-- convinced the freshmen that it is the big issue, -- we avoided the government shut down because we're focusing on 2012. that seems to be an acceptable political construct. all that does not -- necessarily to a conclusion of what happened on the budget, which is another issue. it will get us through next week. >> same question. >> i agree. i think there is a missing of the point. this is nothing. we have the debt limit. why are we getting into such a draw out politically potent fight over relatively small share of a very small part of the federal budget?
you have to save your bullets for the real war and not the skirmish. this is a test for john boehner, but he has several more coming. he is the right guy for this because he is experienced. he has been in the majority and the majority -- he has been in the minority and majority. he is a person who can reach across the lines to the other party. he has kevin mccarthy negotiating with the blue dogs. he understands that he has to win these pipes and he has to save those members of this party caucus who did not get it. by making sure that they can vote no, but have something happen that will keep the government from shutting down and making them all look bad. what are the democrats going to do? help cooperatives will they be? i cannot fathom that able prevents a deal from coming
together. another of them will want to vote and some will probably be tempted to vote no, but probably feel they need to be part of the solution and not just present a target as the problem. when you get to the debt limit, it gets harder for the democrats to put the boats up there. that will be much harder -- the votes of their great many of these new members, they are not going to vote for what has happened in the past. this is making sure there is enough money in your checking account to cover the checks to a written. there are a number of democrats who will say, you are in charge now. it is your ball, you carry it. i am not sure there will not be some who will be part of that solution. there'll be many who politically feel that this is john boehner's job. this is his challenge and they will not be part of making it
easy for him. after all, it is never been the minorities role to help the majority. >> that is entirely right. the new republicans will say, we did not write the check. you have an excuse on both sides for not cooperating. it is a lethal combination. >> can i just say one thing? i was interested in what he was saying about putting this bite into context. in one respect, it is true. in terms of discretionary spending, at this is -- even if they do $30 billion, if five or the republicans, i would declare victory and go home. the democrats are making their position cutting $30 billion. three months ago, paul ryan proposed that as initial starting point for the republicans' decision. it turned out to be not enough
for the tea party people. when paul ryan proposed, it was a monumental armageddon. the terms of debate on discretionary spending have moved so far, that is now the democrats negotiating position. the one thing i debt limit and shut down, but republican said to meet yesterday, the differences are small. if we are going to have a shut down, we should have shut down over something really big, like entitlement reform. we should not have been shot down over $30 billion. >> republicans are already corp. -- depriving themselves of their victory by the way they're operating. >> to make it look like a big capitulation. >> yes. >> there is another problem with the debt limit. we know that is coming, but we
do not know when. there is a lot of play and we hit it and what it is. i've written that it is bullish reconstructed. it is not a good magic of obligations. -- i've written that it is foolish reconstructed. it is not a good metric of our obligation. they voted on the debt limit 10 times the last 12 years. it is a vote that nobody wants to take. it is also an issue that the tea party has grabbed onto in an incredible way. it is an issue where it is not about $30 billion. it is about entitlement reform. those of the kinds of things that people are saying that they want. in exchange for the debt limit to vote, but we have not even begun that debate and we do not know but we will hit the limit,
it is one -- it makes negotiating the dollar levels a lot easier than to talk about some of the bigger dollar, longer-term things. i think that is going to be an issue that plays out over the summer. in a very complicated way with a lot of disappointed people all around. >> it is often said that john boehner is a difficult position. in some ways, i think he is not in as a difficult position as some people say. the strategy all along for republicans has been, we want to find lots of opportunities. we will cut spending here, we're looking at the debt limit, we're looking at next year's budget. it will be a continuing thing. for now, john boehner can go to
the state party members and say, i thought for you as much as i could. the republicans are talking about land of their budget next week. -- about laying out their budget next week. we need to get this done, and will move on to the next thing. where do democrats feel that we have done and not? we're not going to give any more. what is the dynamic of the coming battles? >> i will start. that is a big topic. it is important for the republicans to get their budget out there because it is important to find out what the democrats' response is on the entitlement question. then we will have a somewhat better idea of the real playing
field. paul will say something about entitlements in the budget. we're not sure about how specific it will be. it seems very clear that nancy pelosi and the democratic caucus are going to come down on them like a ton of bricks on the entitlement issue. they are expecting that. does entitlement reform become simply a straight cut partisan issue? as somebody who really is concerned about the long-term debt, that would be a tragic thing, not just republicans and democrats, but for the country. it eliminates the chance of entitlement reform until we had a fiscal meltdown. i am not prone to overstate things, but i really believe that.
if there is in the opening at all to say, what's the down and talk about the right way to reform health care spending, let's see about retirement policy, let's make sure revenues are on the table, then there is an opening to make something happen that would be pretty big. until somebody leads and says, the have to deal with entitlements, we do not know what the playing field will be. >> it seems to be that where we have to focus right now is the senate, where we have 64 members saying they want a big comprehensive approach. all these people trying to figure out a way to do what really needs to be done. hopefully, everybody is learning
about the importance of the relatively small portion of the budget that is called discretionary spending, and will think in terms of doing something more abroad. whether you take social security, it is really about the cost of medicare and medicaid. neither party is prepared to step up to that in a fundamental way. i think republicans are most effective in attacking obama's health care proposal by saying they're cutting your medicare. of course, that is what democrats at about republican budgets during the 1990's. it was not cutting, it was reducing the rate of increase. remember? this has become the third rail even more than social security. we cannot really have an answer to it. -- we do not really have an answer to it.
we are a long way from seeing that fully implemented. i hope that something can come together in the senate. see whether there is a center in the house that would support something like that. conventional wisdom is that this cannot be done before a presidential election. i think the president would get involved if he felt that we were all getting in the boat at the same time. so that it isn't going to tip over. but that is a pretty tough thing to do. it is still something that ultimately will have to be done, or we will be reacting to a meltdown or something that will give everybody the imperative of acting. >> i have to say, listening to these guys and about looking ahead, it makes me realize, right now, we are doing the easy stuff. is totally straight
forward. the cr is like algebra. i do not think there is a lot of people up there whose skills are up to the task right now. i think it is interesting as an observer, i rarely see a climate and the seriousness and the way people are talking about entitlement reform and deficit reduction that is easy to overlook. that does not mean that anything is going to happen anytime soon. but people are lined the groundwork for a serious effort to change was return policy. there are many obstacles in the way. when i was talking to paul ryan a couple of weeks ago, he said something that sound a little bit resigned. he said, maybe we need another
election before the stuff can happen. it is clear that paul ryan is very serious about putting something out on entitlement reform. the budget resolution itself does not make any specific policy changes. it just states and intention to do something. once that is out there, attention does turn to this gang of six and the senate. most of their discussions seems to be aiming in the direction of some mechanism for setting targets that the targets become the actual event. that sounds like these process changes that have been enacted in the past that had mixed success in reducing the deficit. there are a lot of questions and
if i had to bed right now, -- if -- d to bacet right now well, i will not bet. >> i really agree with vin's comment that the outlook is serious from a fiscal perspective. members are seeing what is happening in other developed countries. members are truly concerned about fiscally on stable outlook. -- unstable outlook. it is really about the health care spending. that is really the issue so security becomes a small problem relative to the fact of the rate of growth of health care spending is in excess of the rate of growth of anything
else. it will eat us all if we cannot change that path. what that might mean, given all that, i do not think that there is the strength in congress to make the health care changes that are necessary in the near term. people have lived through this once and i do not want to live through it again. there is too much focus on this appeal and not enough preparation for the replacement. the issues are difficult. what that might mean if there is an opportunity to make progress is that there is an opportunity to take a bite out of a smaller problem, which is the social security issue. a couple of things on that -- for the first time in the social security debate, there is an opportunity for people to look toward making improvements to the social security problem that
we face rather than fixing it all together. if you look out various proposals, all the proposals solve the problem. congress never solves the problem. on a good day, they make the problem less bad. women get serious about making changes to social security system -- when we get serious about making changes to the system, that is why we start talking about incremental changes. there is an opportunity for social security to come into -- for the reform to come into the forefront. people do not want to tackle the health care issue. the present fiscal commission -- the president of this commission, they put together a proposal to solve the problem.
a number -- a number of the members that have been mentioned on the senate side were members of the fiscal commission. there has been some work of recent on social security, and the gang of six were members of that. what i think would be unfortunate to -- would be odd to leak process performed with the debt limit vote. -- link process reform with the debt limit a vote. that avoids the process, and imposes another progress. >> do you think we are about to -- [laughter]
>> in order to make -- get the deal that needs to be done, that will be part of the process. >> there goes your invitation to the wednesday meeting. >> i want to go back to the point that janet brought up. something you hear often, this notion of we can not really deal with this spending problem until after the next election. people to put that point of view forward comes from their -- come from many different standpoints. only a reelected president obama, three of the burdens of reelection, can get this done. only a newly elected republican president can get this done. the final version, we need to have another election in which
there is an even stronger mandate for spending reductions and the last one. i do not buy any of that. we have had the election. the best we're going to have in terms of a mandate for spending reduction. i do not remember any election in which deficit, debt, and spending were as predominant an issue as in the last election. no election. we are not going to get another one of those. we did not talk specifically about cutting social security and taxes, but spending, debt, and deficit or the issue everywhere in this last election. >> for the parties to be in charge of the government and to implement this will put you in the political wilderness for a period of time. why not do it when we have
divided government, when the plane will be assessed across the spectrum? politically, both parties are better off in this environment than what they hope the next one will be. >> i want to open up to the audience. i have one last question i want to get in. that is more about the way the house works. speaker boehner was chafed under the majority. speaker boehner had an open rule which was entertaining and janet they're very late at night, as they went to the budget in great detail. what do you make of the white house is working? the related question to that, i wanted to talk about speaker boehner. vic fazio has compared him to
other democratic speakers. boehner versus gingrich and boehner versus boehner. what has he learned? >> that is a big -- that is a big question. one of the things that distinguishes john boehner -- he was a committee chairman. that is important training. it is different more than people who move up the leadership ladder not through the committee process. he was not off of the leadership ladder, and then did what many people to whom do, he went into the committee and became a serious legislator. he came back into the leadership process, adding than a in the effective chairmanship -- an effective chairman.
it is not a choice assignment for republicans. he did a good job. that affects the way he performs as speaker in a significant way, and we will see that play out as we go forward. the other thing i would say about speaker broder, newt gingrich thought of himself as the leader of the republican party. there's no question in his mind that he was the leader of the republican party. other people may have questioned that. john boehner does not think about himself that way. i think there is a genuine humility that runs through john boehner about the position he is then and he does not view his role in politics in any where near the same way that speaker newt gingrich did. >> he was in the leadership of fell out of leadership. he has been in the room when the
balance needed be imposed. [unintelligible] >> we will open it up to the audience. identify yourself at the microphone. >> speaker boehner, then minority leader, beebe speech in this room in september saying that he was going to let committee chairman had their lead and encourage the the element of bipartisan legislation in committees. he would abandon this majority
of the majority rule and bring things forward. he did so on me ge engine question, which was interested his district. ge has a big plant in the cincinnati area. it is hard for me to imagine speaker pastor or speaker pelosi to allow something to come forward that would be a large project that they wanted to see district.their largown how long is john boehner going to stick with this, and mr. brown to be a sticking point where he will say on this one we got to get the majority and we will set it up of the rules committee so we cannot lose? >> boehner's promised to have wide open rules -- he allowed that on hr1, and a lot of his other roles have been
restrained. he has already violated a promise. nobody thought he was going to do that on everything. you have to run the house. i do not think he has done it on any kind of politically sensitive question, but that is a thing to watch for. at some point, one thing that struck me as interesting as i open -- as watching the open world debate, there were hundreds of amendments. i do not see a lot of bipartisan bills coming out of committees. a lot of the votes were bipartisan. when you have a house rules committee that decides there will only be three amendments, you know those will be amendments that will go up and down on party lines. when you say anybody can offer any amendment they want, there were a lot of interesting coalitions. it was a field day in that you got to watch shifting coalitions. you propose abolishing the nlrb, and you find out that there are
a lot of republicans who do not want to do that. also, to abolish the joint strike fighter, people had been going after that for years, and it comes to a vote and when the speaker has a local interest in it, i thought that was remarkable. i kept looking around, where are the signs that john boehner is twisting on this? i did not see any. your point, you're raising a good question that i do not see. i expect at some point he is on the use the power of the rules committee to control the outcome. it does not seem like he has yet. >> he has to at some point, michael says people have not focused on yet, allowing the kind of debate and argument and process that we saw has been an effective management tool. he has a fractious caucus.
they were inflows by grass-roots conservative movement, called the tea party movement, which sent a strong message, did not cave in to your leisure. the notion of washington leadership. managing this fractious caucus is a difficult task. it has served him well to allow an open process and build coalitions, not be able to say the speaker in a heavy handed way did what most activists warned he would do and try to shut us down. at some point that will come to an issue that requires discipline and then we will find out whether he can impose that, but up to now, it has been a fairly effective tactic in allowing him to call less -- to coalesce the republican caucus.
>> that went on for a week and made an impression, so now he can close the rules process, and everybody will say remember we had an open rule on the whole budget. he defanged the argument. on the second engine, he saw where the votes were and it was a smart move to build his support among the tea party members, new members, who will now say he gave us a vote, and he did not try to use his power. he was thinking down the road about the challenges ahead for him. [unintelligible] >> the latest cnn poll on the tea party movement is interesting.
it shows the american people's favorable ratings have gone about five points to around 32%, up about 21 points to 47% unfavorable. the other thing that came out was most of those unfavorable ratings came -- the increase came from people earning under $50,000. can you speculate as to why there is a more negative attitude, and how this might play out as a factor in the 2012 elections? >> i have a hard time as a reporter and a citizen figuring out who the tea party is. i feel guilty every time i use it in my stories when i do not know who they are. i think it is an interesting concept that has captured a
whole spirit of the vote in t 20102010. as a reporter, the challenge is to figure out if he wanted to party point of view, who you talk to? there are a couple of national tea party groups, but you cannot claim that as our representative of the tea party. they happen to be people -- who have it in their name. when you get down to the level of a i was reporting a few months ago on the tea party in maine, the question of whether olympia snowe was going to get a tea party challenge. i call one guy who has tea party on his blog, and it can get confusing. i take my cue from members of congress themselves. if they identify themselves as a
said the party -- as a sympathizer of the tea party, i ask, what kind of politician is this? i will leave it at that. i do not know what to make about polls about people who i do not who they are. >> an important point, we talked about the tea party don't knowing what is this. there are hundreds of organizations. somebody told me a thousand or more organizations that call themselves the party organizations. the party patriots, tea party buddies, tea party guys run according. there will be an event taking place in minnesota, this will be the -- tea party. in the congress itself, among the 80-plus freshman members, there may be 20 that have a
connection to a key party organization in their desert. the other 60-;lus influence, but they have no connection to it. everything unpleasant happening around the country is blamed on the tea party. i think that is why the image of the tea party has gone somewhat downhill since the last election. >> also note that there are two party members who are not freshman. >> if anybody is trying to personify it, it is michelle bachmann. it has been helpful to the democrats. the republican party has become a radical in many ways. 42% of identified republicans cannot believe obama was born in this country. that is going right to the legitimacy of the president. there is a group of people in the party who are mad as hell
and not taking it anymore, and they are impacting how issues are done with here in washington and at the state led all, and it is one of the things that gives the democrats hope, and they had little three months ago. >> the observation that it is not a third party. they are operating within the republican party. it is an important dynamics obvious in the last election come on these aren't new voices that have returned, but these are republican candidates. i do not know if that will sustain itself in the future, but at the moment we are talking about a division within the caucus versus a different party. that affects the dynamic significantly. >> care for a question.
-- here for question. >> i would like to know if janet or anybody else could give us and i the idea give us an idea, could you give us an idea, the you know what we really stand for, and if so, could you inform us who think you. >> i have a clear sense of the issues that people who identify themselves as the party activists, and i talked a lot of the tea party patriots. besides the government and the level of federal spending. my confusion is the political entity. do you see the difference? go in the back here. identify yourself. >> thank you.
team carting people believe in limited government. last year, 5.5 trillion of total federal state and local spending -- if anybody would like to check that out -- you get eight trillion dollars of government treated cost last $14.5 trillion economy. my question is, 2000, two dozen sex,-- 2--6, in the senate on average, they had 53 seats. is that complete control, and why didn't the republicans ever respond to that?
>> the notion of the senate being controlled by anybody is foreign to me. it is an institution that parties have a hard time controlling when they have a majority. when the democrats had the magic number of 60, they had a hard time controlling the outcome. the talk about a party controlling the senate assumes everybody in the party vote the same way. in the senate, the majority party, there is a sense they have responsibility rather than they have more of responsibility than the minority party. the democrats have come to appreciate themselves, especially now with the republicans controlling the house, that having a majority in the senate is far from controlling things. >> why don't we go right here. >> thank you. as we speak this morning, there
is a hearing on the aarp and its non-profit status. yet at that other organizations, i am wondering, if you're concerned that this new republican majority in the house has been branded as an ideological majority, more nding thed in defudnin left than balancing the budget? >> i am concerned about that. i want to clarify. the democrats want to say he should start spending bills of all riders. i do not go that far because republicans, if you think about from a policy standpoint, the only leverage they had is to attach something to a spending bill. they will not pass a bill to
this bennett -- to this than it and at that president signed it. npr, planned parenthood. whether it is health care, educational reform, epa regulations, things they really care about that are serious policy issues, they're only ability to impact this is going to try to put some kind of amendment on a must-pass spending bill. they will not get everything they want. they can probably get something of what they want. i do not go so far as to say i think the republicans should concede to the democrats that they will pass only clean spending bills. i'm concerned we have allowed symbolic issues to drown out in part this message that people mentioned earlier, we have not made our case for our current success. we have cut spending for the first time maybe ever, and it is
a drop in the bucket compared to the big budget, but it is the first time we have done it, and that is getting lost in the argument about these emotional histories -- emotional issues, and that does worry me. >> it is helpful to the democrats by making the defudning of the left as a set apiece. their base has not been energized. maybe we would give governor walker more credit than that. the bottom line is republicans would have been better off to do across the board cuts. they are always hard to pinpoint where the impact will be, and everybody thinks government is to be, so we can reduce it in size. when you get to specifics and talk about tremendous amounts of money, to make a point politically, you are way off message, and democrats are allayed about it.
>> i totally agree. the rhetoric of the across the board cut is undeniable in this environment. you mean we cannot cut what amounts to one-tenth of 1% of the federal budget approved who will defend that given the fiscal situation? when it becomes will zero out this program, the program becomes the issue rather than the amount of the cut. >> why don't we go back here. >> there has been talk in the senate about raising revenue as well. the millionaires' tax or with reducing deductions people can take on the cat -- take on their taxes. what difference you think that will make on the house? >> i am encouraged by the focus on tax expenditures that came out of the work, and that is where the senate is on the focus. there may be efforts to increase taxes on upper-income people,
but i think we need a total or form and we need to do a lot about tax expenditure. then, i think there's bipartisan support growing for reducing rates, on individuals and corporations. it is not going to be all get and the take. there is one have to be a zero- sum game here. >> i think it put forward the only conceptual framework in which you can have a revenue increase. it has considerable heartburn for both parties. if you are a republican is a net tax increase and there's no reason why democrats would support it if it is not a tax increase. that is major league park burn for republicans. if you are a progressive democrat, you are not -- you are bringing down marginal rates. that is the only way the
republicans will support a net revenue increase in the reform -- in the framework of a tax reform. you got a difficult sell both sides of the aisle for that. it is possible i think -- ryan and the house republicans who voted against bowles-simpson -- you have the opening to do a revenue raising, kerr-current reform of the tax code. that is contrary to basic republican economic philosophy. go right here. >> i want to go back to the
question about the increase in -- tea party. the remark about michele bachmann identify with the tea party and see herself as the leader. is there a link between some of the powerful politicians like bachmann and the trap or a piece of the favorable side of the tea party? >> my own view is it is not individuals. it is fights but on that are unpopular. i can come back to the state level. ec the popular -- you see the popularity of the governors
could down as they deal with issues in the and states, and democrats are doing a good job of labeling everything as being tea party. that is not clear to me that there is any leader of the two- party. -- of the tea party. >> there is a natural factor behind the polls in the sense it is difficult to sustain an eagerness and support in any movement in any party. i was in arizona with a tea party hatred and a conference they had organized. a number of people were marked -- remarked, the ability to keep things calling. people are working -- whoever they are, these people, they are working really hard and they are
holding full-time jobs. it can get higher a after a while -- it can get tiring after a while. a lot of what happens in washington has to do with momentum. one of my biggest concerns with bowles-simpson, i was concerned we lost the momentum. there was some opportunity to grab all hold of that and run with them, and instead there was a pause. a lot of things with age, the excitement around them can start to dissipate. that is true for policy issues as well as political issues. >> we might have time for one more question. a question right here. >> the 2010 elections,
republicans said this is their last chance to make good on their promises because and the previous times they ended up with a huge loss in 2008. have the republicans lost their sense of urgency or do you still think they feel it is a race against time toward the 2012 election? >> i do not think republicans have lost urgency. part of what we talked about before, they feel a sense of the rtc on every single bill coming up as opposed to looking at the broad budget. there is no sense of loss of urgency. the question, and i think it is still a question, is, can they come to grips with the reality of the budget as opposed to the campaign rhetoric about the
budget cov? the rhetoric was not particularly helpful in terms of getting us toward the solution we want. democrats would have you believe it could be only be solved without raising taxes on upper- income people. it is not true. we are faced with the situation that we have to talk about social security, medicare, revenue, and defense, all of which are more ethical than taxing somebody else or finding waste, fraud, and abuse. >> the sense of urgency, it takes me back to my point about their votes between now and 1995. since then, those parties have had the experience of gaining power, reading what they think
is their mandate, and that being thrown out either because they misread the mandate or did not deliver on their promises. that is in part why they have a more sense of urgency. they know the electorate is volatile. there is a job of independent voters that is a big part of the tea party movement. if they do not deliver it is not clear a lot of the tea party voters will go democratic. they might just stay home. >> i am going to give one last chance to say a little wrapup of anything they did not say about the 112th congress. a couple of last comments. >> i think i have made all my points. i am happy to yield my time. >> yeah. i guess i have, too. >>